Posted by Lela Ali on June 29, 2018 in Blog

In a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on June 26th to uphold the Muslim Ban, indefinitely banning certain visa holders and applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, North Korea, and Venezuela, most of which are predominantly Muslim countries. The ruling rejects all the evidence that the ban was motivated by religious hostility and grants the President immense power over the admission of foreign nationals into the country.

Given both the immediate and broader consequences that will follow this decision, AAI’s National Policy Council (NPC) convened for a discussion with Sirine Shebaya, senior staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, to unpack the Supreme Court’s rationale for their decision on the Muslim Ban, and the long-term implications it has on impacted communities and future cases of discrimination. Ms. Shebaya discussed two major questions that were posed before the Court as they relate to the Muslim Ban case: (1) whether the ban exceeds the President’s authority over immigration under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and (2) whether the ban violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that the Muslim Ban neither violates the INA nor the Establishment Clause, signaling its constitutionality.

Following the briefing, NPC members had the opportunity to express concerns and pose questions to Ms. Shebaya for further clarification. There was a shared urgency among members to explore and identify effective legal steps and community response actions. Most agreed to start by continuing to advocate in Congress against the Muslim Ban, and to advocate for policies which will protect our communities’ rights.

Sirine Shebaya is a strong advocate for the civil rights of immigrants and other communities of color. As a senior staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, Ms. Shebaya’s work focuses on the Muslim Ban, border searches, immigrants’ rights, and various civil rights matters affecting Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.